With the hard-hitting and punchy ‘Stranger Blues’, Simo shows off that Blues is very much alive and is ready to hit back harder than ever. From the raunchy and dramatic guitar work that is present in both melody and dynamics to the intense and consistent rhythm section that just chugs along and keeps the frenetic energy of the three-piece rolling.
The entire album is full of strong and dynamic songs that range from verses and choruses that will get you up and singing as it moves into powerful and interesting instrumental sections where the band’s namesake JD Simo really shows off some unique guitar solos and licks. These sections can be usually quite lengthy but they never lose interest due to the intricate playing of Simo as well as the well-used change in dynamics from the rhythm section that keeps the song from ever losing its interest in the listener’s mind.
Blues can be a tricky genre to get right. You usually have to follow a particular formula but in doing so you can start to sound too repetitive. With a few elements added from alternative rock and hard rock thrown into the mix, Simo manages to sound new and fresh especially with songs like ‘I Lied’ and ‘Can’t Say Her Name’. But they still keep the feel and vibe of blues alive with other songs like ‘Becky’s Last Operation’ and ‘I’d Rather Die In Vain’ with the latter featuring an extensive instrumental section that is a brilliant piece of music in itself.
These guys have a promising future in front of them. They’ve hit the ground running with some excellent material and know how to make great songs. There are a few parts on the album that aren’t as strong as the others but with their tight hard rock blues sound that goes from being completely relentless to beautifully melodic, there’s something for everyone.